Lewis Thomas Prize

Lewis Thomas Prize

The Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science, named for its first recipient, Lewis Thomas, is an annual literary prize awarded by Rockefeller University [The Lewis Thomas Award for Communications has also been awarded by the American College of Physicians since 1986. ( [http://www.vcu.edu/engweb/LewisThomas.htm Anne Woodlief, "Lewis Thomas"] )] to scientists deemed to have accomplished a significant literary achievement: it "recognizes scientists as poets". [ [http://runews.rockefeller.edu/index.php?page=engine&id=240 Rockefeller University press release:"Lewis Thomas Prize Honors Freeman Dyson"] ] The award was established in 1993 and is endowed with a nominal US$5,000 purse that scarcely reflects the prestige the award carries. The university gives the prize annually to scientists whose books bridge the gap between the laboratory and the wider world, in the spirit of Lewis Thomas' collection of essays "The Lives of a Cell". The Thomas Prize honors "the rare individual who bridges the worlds of science and the humanities -- whose voice and vision can tell us about science's aesthetic and philosophical dimensions, providing not merely new information but cause for reflection, even revelation as in a poem or painting," Nobel laureate Torsten N. Wiesel, M.D., president of the University remarked in 1996.

The prize-giving ceremony, in the form of a lecture, is held in the spring of the following year, giving rise to some conflicting reports of dates even in the University's news releases. The subsequent recipients of the prize, awarded first for the year 1993 to Thomas, have been:

* François Jacob (for 1994),
* Abraham Pais (for 1995),
* Freeman Dyson (for 1996) [ [http://runews.rockefeller.edu/index.php?page=engine&id=240 Rockefeller University press release:"Lewis Thomas Prize Honors Freeman Dyson"] ]
* Max Perutz (for 1997),
*Ernst Mayr (for 1998), [ [http://runews.rockefeller.edu/index.php?page=engine&id=342 Rockefeller University press release, "Lewis Thomas Prize Honors Ernst Mayr"] ]
* Steven Weinberg (for 1999),
* E. O. Wilson (for 2000),
* Oliver Sacks (for 2001), [ [http://runews.rockefeller.edu/index.php?page=engine&id=139 Rockefeller University press release "Oliver Sacks, Awakenings Author, Receives Rockefeller University's Lewis Thomas Prize"] ]
* Jared Diamond (for 2002),
* Richard Fortey (for 2003) [ [http://www.rockefeller.edu/events/lewis_thomas/2003/ Rockefeller University new release] ]
* Jean-Pierre Changeux (for 2004), [ [http://www.rockefeller.edu/events/lewis_thomas/2004/index.php Rockefeller University press releae] ]
* Thomas Eisner (for 2005), [ [http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/Sept05/Notable.Eisner.ssl.html Cornell University press release, "Eisner wins Lewis Thomas Prize"] ]
* Richard Dawkins (for 2006) [ [http://newswire.rockefeller.edu/index.php?page=engine&id=623 Rockefeller University news release "Richard Dawkins accepts 2006 Lewis Thomas Prize"] ]
* James D. Watson (for 2007).


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